By Alex Scarborough, ESPN:
Amari Cooper is a game-changing talent at receiver. His ability to catch the football, make one guy miss and take it the distance is uncanny. His yards-after-catch numbers are gaudy. As of Monday, he leads the country with 33 receptions and is third overall with 454 yards receiving. And that’s not counting the passes he hauls in behind the line of scrimmage, of which he has three “carries” for 29 yards. But those are just the cherries on top. Cooper is arguably the best receiver in the country. But for Alabama’s offense to be successful, he can’t continue to do it alone.
By Andrew Holleran, College Spun:
ESPN college football analysts Paul Finebaum and Danny Kanell appeared on a “SportsCenter” segment together this afternoon. Kanell, a former Florida State quarterback, and Finebaum, a popular radio personality and member of the SEC Network’s, were originally discussing their projections for the College Football Playoff.
By Michael Casagrande, al.com:
It didn’t come up in Monday’s news conference or in Wednesday’s SEC media teleconference. By Wednesday evening, the question had to be asked. Where does Alabama’s quarterback competition stand? Will both Blake Sims and Jacob Coker play in the 2:30 p.m. Saturday meeting with Florida? “We’re going to play Blake and we’ll always evaluate and see how it goes,” coach Nick Saban said. “We have a lot of confidence in Jake. If we need to play Jake, we’ll certainly have no problems putting him in there and allowing him to play.”
Alabama has experienced receivers, a deep and talented backfield and a preseason All-SEC tight end. But quarterback Blake Sims and the No. 3 Crimson Tide haven’t had to fully use that arsenal of playmakers in the past two games. Most throws have gone to receiver Amari Cooper, and tailbacks T.J. Yeldon and Derrick Henry haven’t needed to do much against outclassed Florida Atlantic and Southern Miss. That figures to change Saturday when the Tide opens conference play against visiting Florida. It’s a lot harder to win throwing it to the same guy over and over against an SEC defense, even one that just gave up 369 passing yards to Kentucky’s Patrick Towles in a triple-overtime win.
By Barrett Sallee, Bleacher Report:
The jury is still out on just how good Florida and Alabama really are, but it won’t stay that way for much longer. The third-ranked Crimson Tide will host the unranked Gators on Saturday afternoon in Tuscaloosa, with both teams needing to make a statement to prove that they’re actually back. For Alabama, the cornerback issues that haunted head coach Nick Saban’s crew appear to have been solved in wins over Florida Atlantic and Southern Miss. Was that a byproduct of Eddie Jackson’s return and Cyrus Jones’ development, or more due to weak competition?
By Duane Rankin, Montgomery Advertiser:
Alabama coach Nick Saban has spoken out against up-tempo offenses because of risk of injury and has had trouble stopping it, but his starting quarterback – fifth-year senior Blake Sims – is more comfortable playing at a faster pace. “It gives me more time to communicate with the line,” said Sims after Saturday’s 52-12 win against Southern Mississippi in which he went 12-of-17 for 168 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. “Communicate with my wide receivers. i can get the play out faster.”
From Lindys Sports:
As Alabama prepares for its showdown Saturday against Florida, head coach Nick Saban said there is a good change injured wide receiver DeAndrew White will return to action. White suffered a “little shoulder separation” in the Crimson Tide’s Week 1 win over West Virginia. White has missed the past two games.
By Michael Casagrande, al.com:
There was no shortage of intensity in Alabama’s afternoon practice. Offensive line coach Mario Cristobal may have been the most animated of the group as the Crimson Tide held its most comprehensive practice of the week. With SEC play beginning and Florida coming Saturday, there was a different feel. For the first time, freshman Tony Brown was practicing with the first team at cornerback. He was in the spot occupied by Eddie Jackson the last two weeks, but a quadriceps injury took him out of the Southern Miss game Saturday. Cyrus Jones was the other cornerback. Jackson came out with the second team at corner.
By JOHN ZENOR, Miami Herald:
Alabama has experienced receivers, a deep and talented backfield and a preseason All-Southeastern Conference tight end. Quarterback Blake Sims and the third-ranked Crimson Tide simply haven’t had to fully utilize that arsenal of playmakers in the past two games. Most of the throws have gone to wide receiver Amari Cooper, and tailbacks T.J. Yeldon and Derrick Henry haven’t needed to do much against outclassed Florida Atlantic and Southern Miss. That figures to change Saturday when the Tide (3-0) opens Southeastern Conference play against Florida (2-0, 1-0). It’s a lot harder to win throwing it to the same guy over and over against an SEC defense, even one that just gave up 369 passing yards to Kentucky’s Patrick Towles in a triple-overtime win.